Disease Outbreak and Bioterrorism: The Ultimate Supply Chain Test

from wpcarey.asu.edu

A smallpox outbreak starts in Los Angeles, and before long cases are reported in the Phoenix metro area, and in the small communities that dot the desert across California and Arizona. Public health officials must make decisions about how to allocate a finite number of drug doses and hospital beds — decisions that impact the spread of the disease and the number of lives lost.

Ajay Vinze and Raghu Santanam, both information systems professors at the W. P. Carey School of Business, wondered what might be the best way to allocate critical resources in this scenario. They realized that, viewed from a business perspective, the public health system is actually a very large and complex supply chain — in many ways even more intricate than the highly developed supply chain of an enterprise like Wal-Mart.

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